I was lucky enough to manage a trip to Istanbul last month. It’s one of those places that’s always been on my bucket list. And as well as the amazing Hagia Sophia and a trip on the Bosporus, I also managed to visit one of the world’s first and largest local shopping malls, the Grand Bazaar.
Consisting of 61 covered streets and over 4,000 shops, it was listed in 2014 as the world's most-visited tourist attraction with 91 million annual shoppers. At first glance it feels like a place of absolute endless choice, a panacea for anyone concerned about the UK’s chain dominated High Streets. It’s a fantastic and vibrant experience for sure and one I would highly recommend.
But if you look a little deeper, it’s not the retail mélange it at first appears to be.
You see it turns out the retail experience has been highly organised and categorised from the first day it opened its doors, some 560 years ago. Traders of the same type of goods were always forcibly concentrated along specific roads, which naturally got named after their traders’ professions.
So, jewellers were found along Kalpakçılar Caddesi, furniture along Divrikli Caddesi, carpets along Sahaflar Caddesi, etc, etc… You get the general idea.
This structured retailing experience continues today. Upon this realisation, the visual assault calms somewhat. Your eyes begin to focus. And you start to notice the goods being sold. At this point you realise there isn’t really the endless choice you first imagined, and many of the shops are selling the same stuff side-by-side!
Now I may be an ‘expert’ on marketing, but I don’t confess to be a retailer. So how exactly does this work I thought? How is it possible that so many retailers could be condensed in such a crowded market, all perceivably selling similar things?
We all know the Turks are great traders. Well, it turns out they are even better marketeers. Because it’s local marketing that allows these 4,000 retailers to stand out from each other and all make a good living. It’s a lesson for anyone in sales and marketing on the real value of empowering your local partners with their local marketing:
1. They know how to connect with customers. Within a short space of time, they use their local experience and personality to identify, understand and connect with passing prospects wherever they come from.
2. They might be selling similar things, but they each have an ability differentiate themselves with personal touches, merchandising and offers to create that perfect customer experience.
3. They understand what potential customers need. As brand advocates they can showcase their products with passion, but they also take the time to listen and never attempt a hard sell.
4. They understand how to negotiate and are empowered to do so. So, the outcome is always win/win and both parties come away happy.
5. They understand perfectly how to upsell when the opportunity is there.
In the West retail has taken a path of one size fits all, but there’s a strong argument that empowering local partners brings all kind of benefits that stand the test of time. It makes real sense. Take it from the retailers in this 560-year-old local shopping centre!
If you’d like to talk to us about how to empower your local partners whilst implementing your national marketing campaigns please get in touch. You can book a FREE 30 minute chat here.
Or if you'd like to read more about Local Marketing have a look at our blog page "Local Thinking': https://www.weareacuity.com/local-thinking-our-blog
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